WonderCon: INTO THE STORM Panel Recap Featuring Director Steven Quale, Richard Armitage, Arlen Escarpeta, Jeremy Sumpter and Max Deacon

     April 19, 2014


“What would it actually be like if you were in the eye of a tornado.”  At WonderCon 2014, Warner Brothers presented select footage from their upcoming found footage release Into the Storm.  You’ve probably seen a teaser for the film already – and if not, see it here.  The under-the-radar film concerns a group of extreme storm chasers who document the ‘storm-of-the-century’ when it hits a small town.  Basically it’s ‘Twister On Steroids’. Filmmaker Steven Quale (Final Destination 5) and stars Richard Armitage (The Hobbit trilogy), Arlen Escarpeta (Friday the 13th), Jeremy Sumpter (Peter Pan) & Max Deacon (I, Anna) were on hand to discuss the intense shoot, the found footage genre and ol’ Twister (aside: isn’t it odd how that Jan De Bont flick has become somewhat of a cult classic in recent years).  For a full recap of the footage shown and bullet point highlights of the Q&A, hit the jump.

into-the-storm-sarah-wayne-calliesThe trailer is pretty much tornado porn.  See a tornado destroy a house, a car, a school, a farm, an airplane, even more airplanes…  Watch a tornado as it catches fire, as it sucks people straight up into the air, through ventilation systems and passenger car doors.  There was some story here about a crew of documentary filmmakers trying to capture the freak storm… but wait – did I mention that a tornado was on fire!  At that point, the base impulse for complete and total destruction kicked in.  Who cares about these made-up characters?  More tornadoes, please.

After the footage screened, the filmmakers and cast came on stage for a brief Q&A. Highlights to which are below.

  • Director Steven Quale on the ironic difficulty of finding a location to shoot at: “Ironically we were shooting in Detroit. There were houses that were only half built – so we asked if we could shoot in them. And the real estate agent said ‘Wait a minute — the price for these homes will plummet if people think a storm struck them.’”
  • Richard Armitage on working with practical effects on set: One of the most exciting parts of filming [Into the Storm] was on set most of things we were doing were practical. A sixteen wheeler crashes to the ground [in one scene] and the crew drew a line and said don’t cross it… So there’s a catharsis between the actors and characters. We really felt for what they were going through [because we were] going through it ourselves as well.”
  • Quale on balancing the practical effects with the digital ones: “We tried to make whatever is around the actor practical and then add the digital effects to it.” So for instance: in the film — the extreme winds, heavy rains, and large debris crashing around the cast are real. Only the tornadoes themselves are added digitally afterwards.
  • into-the-storm-richard-armitageArmitage on the weird parallels between the film and real life: “The day we were shooting the sequence [with the tornado on fire] I said ‘Come on, Steven. This is ridiculous.’… And then the next day on YouTube there was a fire tornado in Australia.”  Seeing that footage, Armitage stated, made him realize just how exciting and real this film was going to be.
  • Quale on the James Cameron touch: “I showed [Into the Storm] to Jim Cameron in a near complete state and he was almost universally positive. So that really felt good. He had one suggestion to add one particular prop to a scene and to utilize it … It was a real full circle experience. Because when Jim showed me Titanic, he incorporated one suggestion I had for him.  I suggested that Rose drop the diamond alone instead of with Bill Paxton…”

In the Storm invades theaters August 8th.  Click here for all our WonderCon coverage.

Latest News